Learning through immersive explorations: Witnessing India's artistic legacy | Aga Khan Academies

Learning through immersive explorations: Witnessing India's artistic legacy

22 September 2023

Immersive learning experiences extend beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, offering students the opportunity to engage with real-world scenarios and broaden their understanding of various subjects. These experiences play a pivotal role in fostering holistic learning, providing a deeper and more comprehensive perspective that goes beyond textbooks and classroom lectures.

This year, a two-day excursion to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, specifically designed for Diploma Programme (DP) 1 and 2 art students, presented a unique chance to learn about art from the marvellous sculptures and murals that adorn the walls of the caves. The Ajanta and Ellora Caves, recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Maharashtra, India, stand as testaments to the country's architectural and creative brilliance. The trip turned out to be an enchanting and educational experience for the students as they were captivated by the intricately carved sculptures and spiritual murals at these historical sites. It presented the students with a unique chance to delve into India's rich historical narratives through the lens of art.

The artistic mastery displayed in these caves left an indelible impression on the students. Witnessing the complex carvings, intricate sculptures and timeless murals evoked a sense of awe for the artistic achievements of ancient civilisations. Each cave at Ajanta-Ellora narrated a distinct story through its artwork, many of which depicted the life of Buddha. Ellora, in particular, showcased a fusion of narratives, seamlessly intertwining tales of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism in its caves.

During the trip, the students were tasked with creating 10 sketches of the caves and subsequently crafting a 1,000-word analysis highlighting their historical significance. This analysis included reflections on their personal experiences, the lessons gleaned and the inspiration drawn from the artistic marvels. The guidance and support extended by the art department in facilitating this trip were invaluable. The decision of the faculty to provide the students with a firsthand visual understanding of India's art heritage showcased their thoughtful approach to enriching their learning experiences.

For art students, opportunities to encounter genuine artwork in its intended setting are rare. This trip, however, provided the DP1 and DP2 art students of the Academy with a fitting chance to immerse themselves in the cultural and artistic legacy of India. As a DP2 student, participating in this journey was a profoundly enriching experience. 

A Reflection by Afreen Valiyani from DP2